Tuesday, February 05, 2008

In Treatment: Episode 7....the sub-blog

Alex returns from Iraq where he went to see the damage done by the bomb he'd dropped. First, he criticizes Paul's coffee, asks about Paul's heart (remember, Alex had had a heard attack) and Paul tells him a story of a patient who began every session by popping a pill.

Alex felt nothing as he looked at the people he'd mutilated. He felt nothing. His ability to feel guilt has been removed, like an organ ectomized. Paul talks about how he felt nothing at a friend's funeral...the story does not resonate for Alex.

Alex talks about an old man in Iraq who appears to have recognized him as the bomber. From there they talk about Alex's father, how he'd killed his own father, suffocated him to keep him quiet as they hid from a mob set to kill them. Alex's father had no guilt or he wouldn't have survived.

Alex is here today to talk about his marriage. "I saw my wife, I really looked at her." She was sleeping in front of the TV, he watched her for an hour straight. Does Paul ever watch his wife sleep this long? No, Paul falls asleep first. Alex asks, "Who the hell is she and what am I doing with her." Paul looks tense-- oh Alex is hitting on Paul's own insecurities about his own stale marriage. "She grinds her teeth, she takes it all out on her teeth at night....she is a totally repressed person," Alex says. Alex's wife Michaela is on a mission to get him back to work, everything with her is clockwork. "Michaela's dying for me to go back."

As Paul talks about Alex's marriage, I wonder if he's talking about Alex's marriage or his own. Alex announces he's suddenly realized he was never in love and now he knows he needs to leave the marriage. Will Paul deal with his own issues, will he leave Kate. "There must be tremendous relief in walking away." "Maybe you're leaving yourself not your wife."

"Again, I feel like a rubber stamp for a decision you'd already made. You're really asking me to accept responsibility for your big decisions. These aren't conclusions you've come to here on this couch in the last week with my permission. They've been boiling over inside you for a very long time."

"My time is up." Alex pays in cash and storms off. "I'll keep you posted."

It ends and I asked my husband, "What was that about?"
"He makes up his mind what he wants to do and goes to the doctor for validation."
"Oh," I said, "I thought it was about Paul's marriage."
I wonder what Roy and ClinkShrink think.


Sarebear said...

woops, see my last comments on #6 - ALL this second week's episodes are up, and I watched them all.

Oh my.

Oh, and doesn't anyone on this show worry about getting sued?

Anonymous said...

Ah the joys of anticipation. Although Mark Twain said: “The poetry is all in the anticipation, for there is none in reality”, rest be assured that there is poetry in Dinah’s sub-blog ...

Sarebear said...

I really liked that one part you quoted, where Paul loses a bit of his unflappability (hear that wind flapping?) and says, no, YOU make these choices, etc. etc.

And then watching Paul regain his composure. In a way, though, I think perhaps this man who seems to feel not much of anything, was rattled out of that a little bit by Paul's flapping. (makes him sound like a bird, lol!).

I was thinking more about the patient's focusing on the teeth grinding of his wife (although she sounds like the type of person who'd drive someone nuts, but then, I don't think his perspective tells the whole story anyway) and how absolutely asinine of a reason that was to do what he's doing.

And I'm confused; I thought the only door was the side door to the outside; but now there's a door to a waiting room area? With it's own separate entrance? Yeesh, many entrances! When do people come in one and not the other, and why for do they do so? Weather I guess would be one reason . . . .

Oh, and I can't WAIT for Monday's episode. Or for the discussions on this week's; it's fun.

so I guess my anticipation of both those things in the last paragraph is my poetry, lol.

Roy said...

So, I'll contribute something here. I have only watched two episodes -- the doctor who has the hots for Paul and Alex before the trip.

I am not hooked on the show (I get it from iTunes), but I must say, reading the comments here makes me want to tune in more.

I liked the Alex character... his confrontational style, his challenging remarks, Paul's repartee back at him. I like working with folks like this, the challenge.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I admire Dinah's commitment to blogging about the show. I'll have to watch #7 now. Oh, wait... I have a podcast to get out. This one Dinah has dubbed "The Benzo Wars", where we get into a heated discussion about this topic. Stay tuned...

DrivingMissMolly said...


Yes! I liked Alex too. He was so immaculately dressed and put together with his beautiful watch and wedding ring and his flat out honesty, yet so unput-together on the inside. Blair Underwood is a fantastic actor and I could literally see the profound despair in those eyes of his, like black oil slicks, under that bravado.

I'm glad that you would consider him a challenge. It is good to know that there are docs like you that would work with a patient they consider a challenge.

I know I am a difficult patient. I wish I wasn't so. I'm sorry for it. I've been dumped by several therapists (18 years ago or so), until I met the one I have now. I have had one psychiatrist reject me as a patient. However, as a website that got into my diagnosis said, difficult patients can be the most rewarding as well as the most annoying. The upside? We will be forever grateful to you. Maybe we'll even bring you chocolate chip cookies.